Spielberg Helms A “Harvey” Remake

Steven Spielberg is set to direct a new adaptation of “Harvey”, Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1944 play about a man’s friendship with an invisible six-and-a-half foot tall rabbit, as a co-production of Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox says The Hollywood Reporter.

In a joint press release, its been confirmed that novelist Jonathan Tropper (“Plan B,” “How to Talk to a Widower”) has pennned the new adaptation of the story about the affable man Elwood P. Dowd and said imaginary friend. Committed to a sanitarium by his sister to avoid social embarrassment, the sister is accidentally locked up instead and soon the doctors figure out the error and rush to find him.

His ramblings about Harvey however have had a positive effect on those around him that when offered a potential cure, the sister declines as she’d rather her brother be who he is. Jimmy Stewart starred in a 1950 film adaptation of the work.

Dreamworks (in its old incarnation) and Fox previously teamed on 2002’s “Minority Report”, and the film marks the first official project begun at Dreamworks under its new incarnation (other films on their slate were already in development at Paramount prior to the separation).

After the release of the recent “Indiana Jones” last May, Spielberg has spent much of the past year purely producing as he helped locked down financing for his reconstituted DreamWorks studio. His sole directorial credit was a month-long shoot involving the live-action elements of his 3D mo-cap movie “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” due for release in 2011.

The filmmaker has several projects in development such as the “Oldboy” remake, the sci-fi epic “Interstellar”, the kiddie books-turned-film “The 39 Clues”, and his long gestating Abe Lincoln biopic – yet all remain in extremely early stages of development which allows him to move forward with this quickly. The director briefly flirted with a “Matt Helm” film project but his partners weren’t so keen on the idea.

Pre-production is to begin immediately, with filming set to start very early next year. Spielberg, Don Gregory, Elizabeth Gabler and Carla Hacken will produce.

Distribution will be split between the pair with Dreamworks outputting the project via its distribution deal with Disney Pictures.